From Cardinal Seán's blog

In addition to being New Year's Day, Jan. 1 is also Haitian Independence Day. So, since I arrived in Boston, it has been my tradition to celebrate a Mass with the Haitian community on that day. It's an opportunity to bring together the Haitian priests and parishioners from all the different parishes of the archdiocese.

As always, there was a very good crowd and quite a number of priests, deacons, and leaders of the various parishes who joined us for the occasion.

Because Cardinal Chibly Langlois of Haiti has been recuperating at our Regina Cleri Residence, this year, I invited him to concelebrate and serve as the homilist at the Mass. He concelebrated seated but was able to stand at the pulpit to preach.

It was wonderful to have him with us. Particularly this year, when Haiti has suffered so much, I think it was reassuring for the people to have a message from the cardinal at this Mass.

We always conclude our celebration by singing the Te Deum, which is a hymn of Thanksgiving that is traditionally sung in Europe and other places to welcome the new year. Then, of course, we concluded by singing the national anthem of Haiti.

Funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Monday, I departed for Rome to attend the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

The Funeral Mass was celebrated outside in St. Peter's Square.

The weather was cool but pleasant. In most places in the States, it would be very difficult to have an outdoor Mass like that in January, but in Rome, it is certainly very feasible.

As I arrived, they were just taking the pope's body out.

It was a very moving experience. There were a large number of priests and bishops, and I would say virtually all the cardinals were there.

There was a huge crowd in St. Peter's square, including many people from Germany.

Even though the crowd was many thousands of people, I was impressed at how silent and reverent they were.

There were official delegations from Italy and Germany, the two countries where Pope Benedict spent most of his life, including Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. In addition, there were 17 other heads of state, including monarchs such as Queen Sophia of Spain.

The Mass was presided by Pope Francis in a way that has been developed in the last few years, whereby the presider leads the prayers of the Liturgy of the Word and then closes with the Concluding Rites. The Holy Father was also the homilist and Cardinal Re, the dean of the College of Cardinals, was the principal celebrant.

The Holy Father's reflection was very much on the Scriptures but was also a very beautiful reflection on some of the salient leadership qualities of a pastor such as Pope Benedict.